Punjab Assembly passes local govt bill amid opposition’s protest and walkout | Pakistan Today

Punjab Assembly passes local govt bill amid opposition’s protest and walkout

-The Act would extend to the entire province except cantonments
-District government will consist of general seats, seats reserved for women, peasants and workers, youth and non-Muslims
-Election for village, neighbourhood council will be held on non-party basis

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly (PA) on Tuesday passed the Punjab Local Government Bill 2019 whereas, the opposition protested and walked out of the House over the approval of the bill as their amendments were not taken into consideration.

According to the details, the Punjab Assembly had passed two bills which included the Punjab Local Government Bill, 2019 and the Punjab Villages Panchayats and Neighborhood Councils Bill, 2019 while the decisions on the bills had been taken during a provincial cabinet meeting with Chief Minister (CM) Sardar Usman Buzdar at his office in Lahore.

According to the new system, the village council and mohalla council would be elected through non-party election system whereas, the election would be on a party basis at tehsil and municipal level. A system of tehsil and village councils would be established according to the Act and the district and union council system would be ended after the approval of the bill; a decision the opposition opposed.

According to the new bill, the mohalla and municipal system would be established in cities whereas, in villages, the tehsil and village council will be established.

The bill would be sent to the Punjab Governor for notification after which it will be printed in the official gazette and upon the notification, the present local government system would be dissolved. The local bodies elections would be held within a year and until the new election the administrators will be appointed and a budget of Rs40 billion will be given to the local government.

The opposition had failed to introduce the amendments timely as they were allowed to move some amendments on the discretionary powers exercised by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

The minister for law and parliamentary affairs Raja Basharat moved the bill for its consideration and approval by the House whereas, the PML-N’s lawmaker Waris Shad opposed it.

Further, Malik Ahmed Khan said that he had been trying to contact the speaker for the same issue but the Speaker was not available but the Speaker Pervez Elahi remarked that the proposed amendments lapsed while he allowed Malik Ahmed Khan to speak in the house on the same matter.

Raja Basharat said that they had removed the clause of education eligibility for mayors and deputy mayors and the tenure of local bodies was also decreased from five to four years only to build a consensus on the legislation.

“We demand from the government not to abolish the security of tenure of the incumbent representatives of the local government system and the bill shouldn’t be passed in haste,” said PML-N leader Malik Ahmed.

Later, talking to media outside the Punjab Assembly, leader of the opposition Hamza Shehbaz said that the PML-N would fight a legal battle as they were challenging the bill in the court because it was against the interest of over 60,000 public representatives.



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